Hi, I’m Luke. I'm 16 years old and attend Providence Day in Charlotte, NC. I have ulcerative colitis. This year, I’m looking forward to traveling to China to play basketball with my school team. Dealing with chronic illness has presented me with two main obstacles: managing stress and being aware of what my body needs (like how much sleep I’m getting and how much I can eat).

I’m grateful that my family has taken my need to focus on my diet and turned it into a positive. Together, we’ve shifted our whole family’s eating habits toward a healthier diet, which helps me manage my disease. For instance, we eliminated dairy, most gluten, and identified other food triggers that keep me feeling good.

Managing stress has always been a challenge, but as I've learned I really can't sweat the small stuff and most of it is small stuff. Also, I've learned to identify what causes stress for me and how I can be prepared for stressful events (like exam week). As time passes I have grown more aware of my own triggers and how things, such as sleeping or eating habits, affect me day to day.

One of my big challenges, right after my diagnosis, was being open with my parents. I'm a pretty independent guy and I like to keep a lot of things to myself. I needed to explain to my parents what I was going through because it was new for all of us. It took time, but I’m better at speaking up now.

When I first came across the PAC, I was immediately interested because I wanted to make a difference in the IBD community. One of my favorite things about the PAC is that there are people all across the country, all different ages, coming together to achieve one goal...to help one another with IBD, with all its different medications, and through all the ups and downs. I really want to help other people that are going through the same thing I am.


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